Who says free doesn't matter?

According to new statistics announced yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show, about 85% of PlayStation 3 gamers are online, in direct comparison to about 60% of Xbox 360 owners. Kaz Hirai revealed that there are about 17 million active PlayStation Network accounts, with over 330 million pieces of content downloaded thus far. Even better, approximately 2.1 million new users just signed up in the last month. Now, Microsoft says they too have about 17 million active Live accounts, but there are many more 360s out there; they estimate they've sold about 28 million consoles to date. We're still waiting to see what Sony's latest hardware numbers are, but sales were up 130% over the holidays . The last time we compared them, the 360 was at about 25 million and the PS3 was sitting somewhere around 17 million. Obviously, if 85% of users are online and that's 17 million now…well, you do the math. I hate math. That means the total ownership is like…what…20 million? I dunno. Forget the calculator; I'll just guess.

Perhaps these numbers don't matter so much, though. Anything that's free is always far more attractive, even if you're not going to use it. Let's face it, people will take random pieces of Styrofoam if it's free. But then again, that 330 million pieces of content downloaded is quite important; at least it proves that people really are utilizing the PlayStation Store. So, just keep it up, PS3 owners!